Personal Counseling

Personal Counseling

Counseling services at Penn State Wilkes-Barre are free and confidential for students. The Counseling Office provides individual, couples and group counseling.

There are many different reasons that students seek out counseling services. Counseling services can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and satisfaction at Penn State. Some of the more common concerns include difficulty or conflicts with friends, roommates, or family members; stress, depression and/or anxiety; sexual identity; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs. We are also available to assist students in making difficult decisions, resolving relationship issues, dealing with academic pressures, and other personal concerns.

Counseling services welcomes all students and embraces a philosophy respectful of diversity. We are supportive of students' gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, cultural and religious backgrounds, and abilities. We are committed to helping all students deal with discrimination and identity issues.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment or request more information contact our campus counselor, Sarah Luvender (570-675-9282 or sel30@psu.edu) or the Student Programs & Services staff assistant, Michelle Yaple (570-675-9279 or mly11@psu.edu). Confidentiality is strictly respected.

Emergency Services

The Counseling Office is typically open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The counselor works on an appointment basis, but in most instances, the counselor should be able to respond to a mental health emergency during those hours. If a particularly urgent situation (for example, suicidal thoughts or sexual assault) presents itself during counseling office hours, a student can contact our office and report the need for immediate attention. We will then make every effort to respond promptly. Unfortunately however, crisis situations do not always occur during the work hours of our staff.

After hours and other options for crisis situations include:

  • Help Line – Luzerne County Crisis Intervention – Dial 211 or 800-423-8007
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-8255
  • Victim’s Resource Center (Sexual Assault Hotline) – 570-823-0765 or 866-206-9050
  • Domestic Violence Service Center – 570-823-7312 or 800-424-5600
  • Penn State Wilkes-Barre Police Services – 570-675-9111
  • Lehman Township Police Department – Dial 911 or 570-675-1483

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is offered to help students gain a deeper understanding of the sources of their difficulties. These insights are then translated into plans for action that the student can carry out in his or her daily life. For issues requiring psychiatric services (medication evaluation and management) an appropriate referral to a community provider will be recommended.

Couples Counseling

At times, problems in relationships lead to stress and disruption in students' lives. Couples counseling is an option when at least one partner is a full time student. Married, unmarried and LGBTQ+ couples are all welcome.

Confidentiality

Both Pennsylvania law and professional codes of ethics emphasize the importance of confidentiality in a counseling relationship. However, law and ethics also emphasize the sanctity of life and the protection of individuals. Confidentiality may be breached if the counselor has reason to believe that the client may pose a threat to him/herself or to others. Confidentiality must also be breached if the counselor has reason to believe that a child is the victim of sexual or other forms of physical abuse or if the counselor is required to testify in a court of law.

Release of Information

Professional ethics concerning confidentiality prevent us from even acknowledging that we work with a particular individual. Therefore, if you wish for the counseling staff to confer with your family members, instructors or other concerned individuals, you must sign a "Release of Information Form." A signed "Release of Information Form" will offer guidelines concerning with whom we may discuss your situation and will outline any limits on such a discussion. Of course, a release is not mandatory if confidentiality must be breached (as described in Confidentiality above).

Referral Information for Faculty and Staff

Feel free to call 570-675-9282 to discuss means to offer help to students about whom you are concerned.

Visit the Students In Distress web page for information on how to spot and work with students who are experiencing emotional distress or academic difficulties due to psychological or behavioral problems.